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Life Through My Eyes

Eyes wide open.

Staring at the world

Taking it all in

Enjoying the good things

Surviving the bad

Questioning it all.

 

I started this blog several years ago to share my thoughts. I think I often have an interesting perspective on life and wanted to share that with others. I have a voice and I wanted to be heard.

Everyone has a story. A tale to tell.

For whatever reason, I’ve often felt like I’m on the outside looking in. Even when I’m in the middle of it, part of me is watching from a distance.

I’ve started dozens of posts over the past year and a half– with a hundred more ideas locked in my brain. Aside from my travel posts and those about my furry children– most have gone unpublished. Unread. Silenced or self-censored.

I became completely obsessed with Presidential election, cable news and the expansive concerns that have divided America. At times, it could be so overwhelming that it was paralyzing. It seemed to invade every waking moment of my day.

The lines between broadcast news, journalism, social media, advertising and ‘fake news’ have become so blurred many people don’t know what to believe. Unfortunately, to the detriment of society, too many people will believe anything they hear. Anything they want to believe, that is.

Well, I’m over it. My silence is about to be broken. If I can help or at least entertain with my words, so be it. I may hurt or anger a few people. If I can educate or open a few people’s minds along the way, then I’ll be achieving my goal.

I may not be an expert on some topics but I also won’t post blindly. I believe that even posting an opinion requires some research and justification. We can’t help who we are or what we believe; though helping others understand the backstory can make the picture more clear. Truth? Fantasy or fiction? In today’s burgeoning mecca of information it’s often difficult to tell.

I don’t want to write about just one topic because that’s not who I am. Theatre, Film, Animal-Lover, Writer…. Nature, Politics, Travel, Equality… History, Restoration, Photography, Reading, Cooking and Gardening… the Human Experience… these are the things that contribute to my psyche and make me a whole person. In daily life, my mind can jump from topic to topic in an instant. I want to share just some of what I see and what I feel. We may not agree– but by communicating there is a place where we can connect. We all have a common ground though many are afraid to approach it.

I’m going to write about it. I’ve been guilty of posting things on Facebook that require more than a one sentence proclamation or allegation. People have become too sensitive and judgemental and often aren’t willing to accept other people’s right to self expression. They aren’t afraid to tell you, you are wrong– yet refuse to defend or debate in a respectful manner.

Some of my posts may be short and hopefully, to the point. I think this blog may be a better platform to express myself. Besides, more than likely, those people that want their Facebook feed to be nothing but ‘cute’ memes and puppy dogs won’t bother to read it anyway.

I just don’t get it. It is easier than ever to communicate with the world. So why are so few people willing to listen?

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fifty Blog Posts: howdoyoumeasure525600minutes

My last blog post marked my 50th since I started blogging at the beginning of the year. My original daily blog goal was pretty unreasonable with my schedule… and frankly, do I really have that much to say that people want to read? Of course, I’m probably editing my ideas and thoughts much more drastically than I need to– but the last thing I want is to become one of those “This is what I ate for dinner…” bloggers. Oops! Too Late! (See last blog post.)

I started this blog because I do think I have a voice with some important things to say. I also wanted to write and give some insight on my life and my perspective. The biggest problem I face is publicly expressing my feelings on topics that either might offend others or possibly have a negative affect on someone or something. Some issues are easy to write about, others are much more difficult. I feel passionately enough about some things to accept the consequences, others… not so much. Plus, though I think good writing has to be fueled by passion– writing when that passion is driven primarily by anger is not necessarily a good thing. So I bite my tongue.

If there’s anything anyone would like to hear me write about– let me know! I’m always looking for topics.

To mark the occasion of my 50th post, I thought I’d share some of the statistics I’ve accumulated so far.

Number of Blog Visitors To Date: over 3,000

Number of Countries From Which Visitors View My Posts: 53

Top Five Countries Visiting (Beyond the US) : Canada, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, India

Number of Registered Blog Followers: 19

Busiest Day: January 13, 2012 – 223 Views

Total Comments: 54

Total Categories: 16

Total Tags: 254

Number of Shares: 201

Number of Attempted Spam: 444

Most referred links: Facebook

Most Read Post: HATE is alive and well in Bartlett, Illinois 345 (This probably isn’t an accurate number as the Home Page received 630 direct views.

I’d love to have more blog followers. I know a lot of people follow and read most of my posts through Facebook… but if you don’t want to risk missing one, sign up! This goes for comments too. Many people comment on the Facebook link but not on the blog itself. Don’t be afraid to comment here! You might have some insight that can help someone else that reads the blog! Speak up and Speak out!

Don’t BLOG about it!

Aside from my last post, I realize I haven’t written many blog posts lately. I could give the standard, I’m so busy– don’t have time line but the real reason is that most of what I have been passionate about is probably best left unwritten. You see, my intention really isn’t to offend or alienate anyone but I know it’s bound to happen sooner or later.

After a previous post, my boss gave me some friendly advice… Be careful what you put out there, people respect and value what you have to say. Then I think to myself, But if I have no opinions or interesting comments… what’s to value or respect? I did get the intent of that message though and I definitely realize that publishing my opinions do have an effect on the way I am perceived. That said, I can’t always be motivating and inspiring and I also don’t want my blog to be a constant rant about what’s wrong in the world I live in. I hope to bring a balance or a comfortable blend to my writing. I’m definitely open for topics to consider. Shoot me an email or comment here if you have suggestions.

I actually have about a dozen half-written posts waiting for me to complete. Sometimes its difficult when other things are weighing on my mind to write coherent posts. It might seem from the brevity of most of my posts, that they wouldn’t take long to write but they do take several hours at least. Some ideas mull around in my head for days (months even) before I actually attempt to verbalize them.

As the school year comes to a close, a lot of memories have flooded my mind of when I was in school. I have a lot of good memories and remember that most of my elementary and high school years were pleasant overall– but those aren’t the ones that stick prominently in my brain. It’s the difficult times I remember most– being bullied, coming to terms with who I was and often feeling alone and afraid.

Those experiences helped bring me to where I am today… I try to be a go-to person for students needing an ear– a safe place where it’s okay to be an outcast. I just wish everyone knew it’s okay to be different and express yourself. It’s so difficult to watch people fight who they really are, to be accepted for what they are not. I understand because I was there, I lived that once.

I’m hoping to share some of those experiences in future posts.

The biggest problem with writing a blog about your life experiences is that it’s not just your life. Aside from the differences in our perceptions of how and what actually happened, you have to take other people’s feelings into account. It’s difficult but I think there are lessons to be learned and I’m up for the challenge.

New York City Day Six

The weather has been all over the place since we got here. Temperatures as high as 80 degrees and down to the low 30’s. Rain predicted for Wednesday came and went… several times but missed us for the most part. Overall, I really can’t complain.

We were finally able to have lunch at Havana Central. We tried on Sunday but they didn’t open early enough to accommodate our show schedule. Just off of Times Square, they have a delicious array of authentic Cuban food and I was anxious for a return visit. Last time we were there I had some delicious pulled pork, yellow rice and black beans on the side.

Cuban sandwiches are one of my favorite meals and I make my own version of them frequently at home. Michael and I both decided to try them here and they were quite good. BUT– if you want the best of all Cuban sandwiches, you have to try Silver Ring in Florida. They have several locations but the original in Ybor City closed a few years ago due to the bad economy. Luckily, there is a location in Lakeland, Florida near my parents home and we go nearly every time we visit.

After lunch we headed over to the theater for the matinee performance of End of the Rainbow, which is set six months prior to Judy Garland’s death during her final comeback attempt at the Talk of the Town in London. The play with music, bounces back and forth between Garland’s hotel suite and her stage concerts. It is a moving account of some of Garland’s last days and Tracy Bennett is sure to be nominated, if not win, the Tony Award this year for her portrayal. What the film industry did to her, fueling a lifelong drug addiction is a travesty.

We were able to meet up with our friends (and soon to be married couple) Carrie and Joel for a light dinner after a short walk through Central Park. The timing worked out perfectly. They were on their way to midtown for ballroom dance class (in preparation for the wedding) and we were on our way up to Lincoln Center. I really wish we got to see them more often. Seeing Carrie twice on this trip was a special treat.

I was really looking forward to the stage production of War Horse. I saw the movie in December and cried like a baby through the whole thing. The stage version is an astonishing masterpiece. The brilliant ingenuity that went into the creation of the horse ‘puppets’ is a sight to behold. The  two full grown horses require three operators, two inside and one to operate its head. The young Joey also required three human manipulators to enable Joey to run, move his ears, and make all the sounds you would expect to hear from a live horse.

The production (as well as the movie) is based on a novel which I waited to start reading until after  seeing both adaptations. All three tell the story in a uniquely different fashion and all three are moving accounts of a tragic time during the first world war. Michael and I both thought it was one of the best shows we’ve seen.

After the show we headed back to Times Square and Michael suggested we eat at the infamous Tad’s for old times sake.

There’s a back story here: Back in the late 80’s when I first started going to New York by myself, Tad’s was one of my favorite places to eat. Not, by any means, for the the ambiance. For only $6.99 you could get a ribeye steak, baked potato, salad and drink…. if you didn’t mind sharing a dining room with the homeless of New York. There is no wait staff, you order your meal and carry it on a tray and find a seat.

A view in Central Park.

When Michael and I started going to New York together in the mid-90’s, I told him we had to eat there. By that time, prices had gone up to around $10.99 for the same meal, which all things considered, is still a bargain in New York –and it’s actually quite good.

Let’s just say that Michael was a little horrified by the experience and it has become a running joke over the years. We hadn’t been back since, yet every trip Michael always says, “Are we eating at Tad’s?”

So, there we were, all these years later– back at Tad’s to relive the experience. I can’t say they’ve remodeled or even cleaned since we were there last… and the prices have skyrocketed to over $20 with your drink.

The homeless are gone now but the clientele, aside from a few unsuspecting tourists, is predominantly, how should I say… shady. The food was still good and we had a lot of fun laughing over the experience. (No, I don’t recommend this for your itinerary.)

To live life to its fullest, you have to experience the good with the bad, right?